Hi all, I hope you had a lovely 4th of July full of warm weather, lots of sunshine, family and friends and of course fabulous food! Now that the holiday is over and we have all indulged in our favorite summertime sweets, it’s time to get back on track. For this blog I would like to take the time to clarify added sugar verses natural sugar as again, just like so many other nutrition related topics, there is so much misinformation around the topic.
First of all what is sugar?
Sugar is classified as a carbohydrate. Carbohydrates need to be included in 45-65% of your daily caloric intake. This includes foods such as fruits, vegetables, grains, flours and added sugar products.
Once consumed, your body converts these carbohydrate foods into a simple sugar called glucose. That molecule is then used to fuel your cells and to help supply energy to your body.
Sugar is an essential helper when it comes to fueling your cells and supplying energy to your body, however it can come in several different forms. As most nutrients your body needs, some forms of sugar are much healthier than others and when they occur naturally in foods they can be a great addition to your overall diet. Check out the types of sugars below:
Types of Sugars:
- Natural Fructose: Available from Fruit or 100% Natural Fruit Juice
- Natural Lactose: Available from Dairy Products
- Added Sucrose: Available from Table Sugar
Other terms for Sugar: The ones highlighted in red count as “added sugars.”
- Fructose- Remember this is often Natural Sugar from Fruits and therefore is not labeled as an “Added Sugar”
- Lactose- Remember this is often Natural Sugar from Dairy Products and therefore is not labeled as an “Added Sugar”
- Cane juice
- High fructose corn syrup
- Corn sweetener
- Brown sugar
- 100% maple syrup
- 100% Fruit juice
- Evaporated cane juice
- Organic Raw Cane Sugar
- Agave Nectar
How much added sugar are we allowed to have per day?
Public Health agencies recommend consuming no more than 6-9 tsp. of sugar on a daily basis. According to the American Heart Association it is important to, “Limit the intake of added sugar that does not naturally occur in foods to 100 calories or 6 tsp. daily for women and 150 calories or 9 tsp. daily for men.”
In knowing this, please keep in mind that each gram of sugar equals 4 calories and we are recommended to have about 25 grams per day while maintaining a healthy diet.
However, the 2015 Dietary Guidelines recommend no more than 50 grams of added sugar per day. That is pretty liberal in my opinion. However, our goal should be individual and based upon what we are currently consuming. Remember small sustainable changes are the best way to ensure long term success of our goals and changed eating habits.
Latest news: Did you know that the FDA has approved a new nutrition facts panel that will now differentiate between natural sugar and added sugars? How awesome is that? Talk about a time saver!! Check out an example of this Nutrition Facts Panel that is available for viewing at the FDA’s website at FDA.gov.
Hope you are all enjoying summer! Load up on all that fresh fruit and produce as you can now be sure it is a natural sugar and therefore does not need to be limited!
Peace and wellness,
Coborn’s Registered Supermarket Dietitian
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